Tips for finding reliable health information online

Published - 06 February 2021, Saturday
  • reliable health information online

The Internet has an abundance of information and resources available for anything imaginable. It can be a really helpful source to learn about any unfamiliar topic instantly. But it is also important to ensure that the information is coming from a well-trusted and updated source.

It isn’t always guaranteed that the author of the content that you are reading is not presenting a biased opinion or trying to sell a product/service. Most of us also get on the Internet to look for general health information. But how do you know if the information is actually reliable? There are some questions that you need to ask when browsing online for health information-

  • Is the site trying to sell you a product? Who is it sponsored by?
  • When was the site published?
  • Is the information present on the website backed by references?
  • What is the expertise of the producer/author?
  • Is the information updated?
  • Is the information educative and objective or just biased?

The answers to these questions will help you verify the credibility of the website and the content published on it. The health claims made on the website have to be backed by relevant research and evidence. You can gain knowledge about how to manage a health condition online. But make sure that whatever you follow has been verified by your doctor to safeguard your health.

It is crucial to check the source since anyone can post anything on the Internet. The source of the website could try to be selling a product or service. It could also be someone’s biased opinion. So when you wish to find health information online, pay attention to all of these factors.

Following are a few ways in which you can ensure that the health information you read online can be trusted and believed.

What is the source of the information?

The first step to finding reliable health information is to verify its source. If the source of the website is a government authority, educational institutions, or any professional organization,  the information is more likely to be trustworthy and accurate. Government-backed websites have .gov in their URL while educational institutions use .edu. Review the purpose of the website by going through the “about us” section before trusting any website.

When was the information updated?

A reliable and credible source will not provide you with outdated information regarding your health. Check the “last updated” section of the website to find out if what you are reading is the latest information, or some advancements have taken place in the field after that. The general health information on a reliable website is updated regularly to make sure the audience is not misled in any way.

Evidence supporting the claims

The health claims made by the website should be based on researches and not someone’s opinion. Find out if there are research article or citations of the original source of the information.  Compare what you read on several websites to find out if the information is consistent.

Verify with your healthcare provider

Although the information on the Internet will not be able to replace the expertise of your healthcare provider, it is better to be aware of what’s happening with your body. But you should value your doctor’s advice over anything you read on the Internet. You can verify the general health information that you found online with a medical professional and see if the information applies to your condition or not.

Beware of scams

If you come across a website that appears too good to be true or offers some magical cure for your problem, you should not trust it. Avoid websites that seek your personal information or share these details with a third party. Compare multiple websites to find a credible source for health information online that presents facts and not personal testimonies.

There is no screening process for publishing information online. This is why you have to be extra careful before you trust any online source. The most important thing to verify is the goal or objective of the website. This way, you can be assured about the credibility of the information. Online forums, chatrooms or social media platforms are not the right places to look for information related to your body. Do not trust a website that is selling a product as their content will just be targeted to advertising and not for your education.

If you wish to find reliable health information online, Know Treatment is a good choice. There are several other quality health information sites that you can refer to gather information related to various health issues. It is important to evaluate the website before trusting the information published on it. Always beware of the information you read on a commercial website since their sole purpose could be to sell you any of their products or services.

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